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Why in news?

Amid the countrywide lockdown, the National Board for Wild Life (NBWL) has recommended coal mining in a part of an elephant reserve in Assam.

The NBWL’s Standing Committee had on April 7 discussed a proposal for use of 98.59 hectares of land from the Saleki proposed reserve forest land for a coal mining project by North-Easter Coal Field (NECF), a unit of Coal India Limited.

Panel Recommendations

  • 57.20 ha of hilly forestland had already been broken up by the user agency (NECF) and the remaining 41.39 ha was unbroken.
  • Panel recommended a “cautious approach” for preserving the “basic integrity of this forested hill slope” that is a part of the elephant reserve in Assam adjoining Arunachal Pradesh’s Deomali Elephant Reserve with “a sizeable population of elephants.”
  • Panel recommended for approval” the proposal for mining in the broken-up area after the user agency submits a rectified site-specific mine reclamation plan in consultation with the Assam Forest Department.

National Board for Wildlife

  • NBWL was constituted under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • Hence, NBWL is a Statutory body.
  • NBWL has 47 members, with the Prime Minister as the Chairman.
  • NBWL is “advisory” in nature and advises the Central Government on framing policies and measures for conservation of wildlife in the country.
  • Primary function of the Board is to promote the conservation and development of wildlife and forests.
  • It serves as apex body to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.
  • It has power to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.
  • All the changes or alterations of boundaries in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries require NBWL’s approval.


  • Deomali is a census town in Tirap district in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, India.
  • Nocte are the principal tribe in Deomali and its nearby villages, some small population of Wancho, Tutsa, Adi, Nyishi, Galo, Assamese, Bengali and Bihari are also found here.

Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Dibrugarh and Tinsukia Districts of Assam.
  • It is part of the Assam valley tropical wet evergreen forest and consists of three parts: Jeypore, upper Dihing River and Dirok rainforest.
  • It was declared a sanctuary on 13 June 2004. This sanctuary is also a part of Dehing-Patkai Elephant Reserve.
  • A part of the forest was declared as a wildlife sanctuary by the Government of Assam, while another part falls under the Dibru-Deomali Elephant Reserve.
  • The forest further spreads over in the Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh. The Dehing Patkai forms the largest stretch of tropical lowland rainforests in India.
  • The forest is often referred to as “The Amazon of the east” owing to its large area and thick forests.
May 2024